BELONGING to national organisations when you live in the country has always posed the same challenge: How to afford the time and cost of attending meetings.
So, for a while now, bush dwellers (and I speak here of anyone living outside metropolitan areas), have been brushing up their online meeting skills.
It wasn't so long ago that we all teleconferenced.
Council members of the National Rural Women's Coalition are getting to be experts at meeting online.
Once a month they all sit at home or in their offices all around Australia, log on to their computers complete with inexpensive webcams and start talking or working on documents online.
It's very 2010.
A few weeks ago one of the National Rural Women's Coalition's member organisations held a webinar which is like a seminar, only you don't have to front up in person, you just go online to watch the presenter.
This one was billed as morning tea with the ABC television presenter, Kerry O'Brien.
I was due to attend and entertained visions of dribbling tea and cake crumbs all down my shirt without anybody, including Kerry, noticing.
I meant to log in but as it turned out, something more pressing arose and I snubbed Kerry just like that.
Fancy not turning up to morning tea with Kerry O'Brien!
In the past, when webinars and online video-calling and online document-sharing were just a dot in some geek's grey matter, organisations such as the National Rural Women's Coalition may not have developed or functioned to the extent they do today.
Think about it.
The organisation's executive officer Sandra Stoddart lives near Kyneton in Victoria.
Chairwoman Karen Tully lives near Charleville in southwest Queensland.
Pat Hamilton, who represents Australian Women in Agriculture on the Coalition, lives on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula and Irene Mills, representing the National Rural Health Alliance, lives north of Perth in Western Australia.
(By the way, there are many more organisations from far and wide represented on this Coalition. Others are the Country Women's Association Australia, the Foundation of Australian Agricultural Women, the Women's Industry Network - seafood community, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, the Australian Local Government Women's Association and indigenous women.)
They're able to garner information from their rural members, clarify their position and then fine-tune their advocacy in preparation for their regular meetings with politicians on matters from preventing violence against women, improving health services or their newest project to get HECs fees dumped for young people attending regional universities.
"We have face-to-face meetings twice a year and meet online every month," says Ms Stoddart.
"We can see each other (if they switch on their internet video cameras), but we tend just to chat and work on documents."
Better ways to communicate online have been a bonus not just for national organisations.
Several local organisations I belong to meet and work collectively online.
We share documents online and make changes that we can all see at the same time.
It means we can make progress on some of our written work between our face-to-face meetings.